PART of Gov. Pater son's new budget proposal an nounced this past week includes a saltwater fishing license, something we all knew was coming.
Like the freshwater license, the saltwater version will be administered by the Department of Environmental Conservation. Prices are $10 for a year, $8 for a week and $4 for one day. There is also a $150 lifetime license.
The exception will be for those who fish from a party or charter boat. The owners of these vessels will be required to purchase a $400 license every year, exempting their customers from the need to purchase a license while fishing from their boats.
Most charter and party boat captains welcomed the license fee, saying it would not be fair to charge their customers for license as well as boat fees.
Offshore anglers, including boats for hire, who target migratory species such as tuna, already are required to pay $250 for a state license, so the $400 is just an increase for many boat owners
The state's recreational saltwater fishing license is expected to raise about $2.5 million per year.
The license was inevitable. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration mandated that states impose their own licenses by 2010, and if they did not, anglers would be required to obtain a federal sportfishing license.
Many saltwater anglers are in favor of a state, rather than a federal, license program if the fees would go toward a dedicated fund to benefit marine fisheries, which it does in the budget proposal.
The DEC stocked local rivers, lakes and ponds before last Wednesday's trout season opener. Stocking of catchable-size trout starts in late March and early April in the lower Hudson Valley, Long Island, and western/central New York, and then proceeds to the Catskills and Adirondacks.
This year, the DEC plans to stock more than 2.3 million catchable-size brook, brown, and rainbows in 304 lakes and ponds and roughly 3,000 miles of streams across the state. Approximately 100,000 two-year-old browns ranging from 12 to 15 inches also will be stocked statewide.
For a complete list of waters planned to be stocked this spring, go to www.dec.ny.gov.